‘Being shot on way out was better than staying’: East Aleppo family shares story of escape (VIDEO)
While Syrian government forces are retaking neighborhood after neighborhood in east Aleppo, thousands of civilians have seized the opportunity to flee the violence. Locals shared their memories of what they left behind with RT.
RT’s Lizzie Phelan went to a former food market turned makeshift camp where some east Aleppo residents have fled en route to safer places within and outside Syria. A generator has been set up in the camp to let people charge their phones so that they can try to contact friends and relatives who can help them get further away from the conflict-torn area.
“They were shelling in our area, but we didn’t leave our home. It wasn’t until my home was destroyed and my children were injured that I said I could no longer live there and I left,” one woman named Fatima told RT.
Her husband, who sustained a head injury, is disoriented and desperately needs medical help.
Some of the people light fires to try to keep warm, as it is freezing cold in the region at the moment. Cold, however, isn’t the only life-threatening issue – despite fleeing the terror, many suffer from severe malnutrition and most of the kids have yellowish skin and can barely move.
One of the mothers told RT that it was the rebels who took the food from them in eastern Aleppo.
“The prices for everything were so high! When the aid would come, they [the rebels] would take it and keep it for themselves. They stole it from us. None of my kids have eaten for three days, they are suffering, and the journey here was so difficult!” Majdolene said.
Many people had to walk for three hours to reach the makeshift camp.
“When I heard the road was open, they told us not to go, ‘they will shoot you and your kids,’ but I said, let them shoot us, I don’t care, it’s better than staying [in east Aleppo],” Majdolene emotionally told RT.
“My friends said, ‘let’s find a car.’ I said, ‘if I don’t find a car, I will go crawling on my hands and knees,’” she added.
It was not the first time Majdolene had attempted to flee with her five children. The last time, the militants caught her and took her ID. The woman’s family has been separated by the fighting, with her husband joining the Free Syrian Army and her brother serving in the Syrian military. She says her husband tried to force her to bring her brother to him but she refused despite beatings.
Majdolene’s isn’t the only family split by war. Teenage Ahmad’s parents are just 50 kilometers away, but he can’t go see them, as Al Bab is under Islamic State (formerly ISIS/ISIL) control now.
“We will stay here until God helps us,” the boy told RT.